The eligibility criteria for Tús, community employment and similar activation and training schemes require that the applicant is in receipt of a jobseekers' or other defined payment from the Department of Social Protection. I am aware that these eligibility conditions impose restrictions of previously self-employed people who now find that they have lost their business and are out of work and not in receipt of a payment from my Department. Self-employed workers are not insured for short-term benefits such as illness and jobseeker's payments and therefore, depending on their means, may not in receipt of the specified underlying payment for access to these schemes.
In line with commitments contained in the Programme for Government, I established an Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare. The main rationale for the establishment of the Advisory Group is to harness expert opinion and experience to address a number of specific issues around the operation and interaction of the tax and social protection systems, recommend cost-effective solutions as to how employment incentives can be improved and better poverty outcomes achieved and to identify the specific practical institutional and administrative improvements to their operation. Among the issues that the Advisory Group is currently considering is the issue of social welfare entitlements for the self-employed.